- Introduce foods that the rest of the family would be eating. They can easily be part of holiday meals, just be sure the texture is suitable for their development. For example, babies just starting on solids should have their food pureed to a consistency that works for them. If you notice them gagging or spitting out, they may be telling you to puree a little longer or add little liquid to thin out the consistency.
- Make extra. I always cook a little extra knowing that I plan to puree and freeze up baby portions to keep in the freezer. If you are going to all the trouble to make this delicious meal, it doesn’t take much to make a little extra to save yourself cooking time over the coming weeks. You will be so grateful to have a freezer full of baby portions for future meals.
- Make tasty combinations. If you are cooking a number of dishes, try making your own unique combinations to create a variety of meals for baby. For example, puree up some turkey, potatoes, and a dash of gravy and drop of cranberry sauce or if baby is ready for bite-sized portions try dicing up your holiday meal for self-feeding. My favorite was giving baby a bowl of mashed potatoes and watching them eat. It may be a little messy but so much fun!
- Spice it up! Try new herbs and spices when combining your cooked ingredients to create new flavor sensations. For example, add a pinch of pumpkin pie spice to your mashed sweet potatoes, or a pinch of ground rosemary to your turkey and potato blend. Be sure to avoid seasoning their portion with additional salt
- Celebrate by eating together. Nothing makes a baby feel more like part of the family than when they are included in these festive meals. Even if its for a short period of time, allowing your baby to watch the rest of the family enjoy their beautifully prepared meal together sets a wonderful example for how families come together and show appreciation for the delicious food.
Is it possible to use treat-focused holidays like Halloween as a teaching tool for your kids’ long-term eating habits—an excuse to actually improve their relationship with food? Absolutely!